lets start with this.... Never in a million years I would think this title would be added to the resume. I’ve always loved fitness, In high school I was a cheerleader and stunting in the air, being fit has just been apart of my life. Through out the years I’ve had been in and out of the gym, a couple of trainers, joined a running club, but never really was involved in the body building community. I didn’t have the knowledge nor education, honestly don’t think it was even in my mind that there was a Bikini Category. I wasn’t interested in becoming extremely muscular, I just didn’t have a clue. I started drinking & partying at a young age, 13 to be exact, grew up in the hood. Throughout my 20’s I was surrounded by crazy party scene, drinking, bartending, and also involved in relationships that became toxic. I was in a very dark place in my life where I’ve been depressed, wanted to commit suicide, and even if I was the most talented in the room being top 5 in North America, I didn’t see it.
I finally realized I needed to be alone, find myself, and not let anyone give me an opinion but myself. One of my very close friends had a drug addiction, & in the moment of her addiction I had to see one of the scariest moments of her almost overdosing. I left her a letter, told her when she decided to go to rehab and become sober ill be there. The moment I left that hotel room, I decided to be sober. I didn’t drink for 15 months, one to do it for my friend, but really to live in clarity. Often times, drinking is a stress reliever, or people use it to numb situations in their life. I knew there was so many areas in my life that needed to change. My career, my internal self, my personal growth of independence, and putting my self first. When you shift your life, and center god- things change.
Summer 2019 I met one of the most beautiful souls at the most random time, and honestly wasn’t even the right timing at the moment- however things just work out. That’s when Body Building came into my life, I would joke around and say Mar, train me. I meaaan how many times do you hear that but the person isn’t serious? 99% of the time. Watching her lift was like pure beauty. Someone so beautiful yet so strong, was just so amazing to me. She finally invited me to train with her and would train with me in the gym, 6 months later I was the most fit I’ve been in my adult life. December, is when she introduced me to “prep” I had NO IDEA what it involved, what you had to do, yes I knew meal prepping because I once have done it. However it was on a whole other level of “going to the gym to work out.”
I started following competitors on instagram, and became obsessed. I wanted to compete, yet always thought to myself- I could never lift that much weight or it’s going to take me years to build muscles- I’m tiny. What I decided to do is go on “prep” without actually competing. Mar began prep for the first time with Coach Linda Alberto, if ya’ll don’t know Linda yet you need to. Not her first prep, but 1st time coaching with her. Did the same workout plan, same meal plan, same cardio, discipling not only my body, but my mind. I was very aware that my results would be completely different because the meal plan and workout plan wasn’t gear or customized to my body. I wasn’t concerned about that, I was just mentally training my inner self. Fast forward to peak week, week of show, counting down the days until show time. 3 days out, the world shifted. Covid hit, shows were getting postponed, quarantine stay at home order was taken place, and groceries stores were out of control.
Mar pushed one more month of prep until deciding to just not compete because of all the shows just canceling, and being unsustainable in such a low calorie deficit. I think it hurt me more initially to not see her compete, because of all the chaos surrounding her that she couldn't absorb it instantly. The amount of dedication, sacrifice, and seeing her day in and day out push through every cardio session, lifting session, and sacrifice holiday food inspired me to want to compete. It's definitely not for everyone, and not everyone is willing to sacrifice minimum 12 weeks of mental strength.
Summer was fun no restrictions, felt my pants getting tighter I was about to turn 30, and I told myself, I'm going to look my best I've ever looked going into a new decade. Drank my last alcohol drink, and emailed Linda the next morning. I clearly remember asking Linda, "How realistic do you think it is prepping during a pandemic" Her answer was Everything is uncertain, basically taking a risk. I think I thought about it less than 24 hours, and sent her photos, and was ready to transform. July 2020 is where it all started, we went from prepping 14 weeks to 20 weeks. 5 months I competed my very first show in Sacramento at the Spectrum Productions - Governors Cup. During the last 6-8 weeks of my prep, posing just wasn't sticking to my brain, I was so stressed, and literally got my routine down few days before stepping on stage. I couldn't thank my posing coach Marisa Woo -@mwooo23 enough for the multiple face time calls to perfect + polish my posing, and most of all being so patient with my awkward transitioning poses. LOL. Flying out Friday morning, I was so excited documenting every single thing, you know Linda be watching every story- zooming in & all. LOL jk
I had pre packaged rice & she was like girl that has extra fat please check.
I was so concerned about making a big batch of rice in the morning before my flight that when Linda said okay eat meal 1, I ate the wrong meal. I was so excited for carbs.... It had been WEEKS.
Why I ate Swai & white rice.... I HAVE NO IDEA. mid way eating it on the plane while I'm trying to hide from the flight attendant from telling me anything, I instantly remember omg, MEAL1 is EGGS. Immediately messaged Linda LOL, was crying in the moment like DAMN, I'm already messing up. SO stressed. Anyways, I got to meet Linda in person & she's the sweetest soul ever. One on One posing before stage, and i'm so grateful she was able to attend my first show. My girl Ashley @alistglam flew in to make me feel like celebrity, and of course Mar was by my side making sure I had everything in order, except watched me eat SWAI + WHITE RICE LOL. Forever grateful that she was able to capture every bts to never forget this special experience. Taking Home 3rd Place True Novice, 3rd Place Novice, & 6th Place Open Class A. I was literally so happy, I didn't even know how to soak it in, I ran outside & couldn't wait to eat.
During the prep process, I documented every thing I cooked, my creative concoctions to keep me sane, I also was able to train in a gym everyday thankfully crunch fitness never closed, and I would drive 1 hour in traffic sometimes just to get to the gym. I really sacrificed everything for this moment in my life. During the process I lost some friends, gained new ones, and shifted my entire energy. You realize who is your circle, and what is your purpose in life. The transformation that prep does within- the inner work is what is most rewarding.
I've gained so many instagram friends in the bodybuilding community it's so cool...
fast forward 2021- 10 weeks later, Valentine's Weekend I did my second prep with Linda, & this time got to compete with Mar! Our very first show together, @musclecontest Gold Coast Muscle in Huntington Beach - this one is as special as the first one because it came full circle. The one who inspired me to step on stage, was stepping on stage beside me. Bringing home 1st Place in Masters + Novice, and 2nd Place in Open- National Qualified! It was so surreal, and emotional to see this moment become reality for Mar. I took home 3rd Place in Open & 9th in Novice. My posing improved, but for sure is still my weakness, and can always improve. Over all my physique could be leaner, however it definitely improved from my first show.
Currently- Im off reverse diet, took a food sensitivity test because one of my main issues is my digestive system.... WELP egg whites- number 1 thing I eat every morning....is the number 1 thing I am sensitive to, along with all dairy. Starting my 3rd prep, Linda + myself are super excited for this one. So crazy to think in a few month we will be hitting my year mark. Im making sure all my hormone levels are good, and checking if I have any vitamin deficiencies. Taking care of your body is super important even more so as a body builder. You are at low calorie deficit majority of the time, which could be unhealthy, which is super important to reverse diet, and slowly get your body back to normal. This time around, I will not stuff my face with everything on the planet like I did in Miami.
Thank you to everyone who reads this story, taking the time to sit and learn more about me. To the ones who share my recipe hacks to get through prep, the ones who cheer me on in the dms, who eat egg whites & cinnamon for me, and thank you to the g.o.a.t.s @linda__alberto + @mar.mvmt for taking me under ya'lls wing to show me what im really capable of, and making me stronger. @mwooo23 for helping my physique come to life, and last but not least to my glam babe Ash @alistglam for always coming through & making me feel so beautiful. I LOVE YALL!
till next time, catch me on the gram--- @iamtiffanybernard